5 Things You Need to Know Before Your Buy Your First Home
Every year, thousands of new homebuyers feel a sense of remorse after buying their first homes. Some are unhappy with the terms of their mortgage, while others are unhappy with the layout of their homes. Some are faced with more home improvements or maintenance needs than they expected. In truth, there are dozens of reasons why someone might be unhappy with their home purchase.
If you’re thinking about buying a home in the near future, then knowing how to avoid the mistakes made by those home buyers that came before you is important. Here are five things you need to know early on to help you avoid buyer’s remorse.
Only Buy as Much Home as You Need
From the 1980s through the early 2000s, home buyers were obsessed with “bigger is better.” The low housing prices and interest rates of the period emboldened buyers to purchase much larger homes than what their families actually needed. And, while this was okay for the time being, the inevitable market crash of the mid-2000s resulted in so many of these families finding themselves upside-down with their mortgages, and a large number of them even lost their homes altogether.
The mistakes made by those buyers offer a compelling lesson for today’s buyers – only buy as much home as you actually need. Ideally, your mortgage should be able to be met with only yours or your spouse’s income. This will help prevent you from losing your home should one of your incomes be reduced or lost.
Plan to Live in Your First Home for Several Years
Unlike renting, when you buy a home, you should be looking at the long-term, and ideally, you should plan on living in the home for several years. This is important because when you own a home, whether or not you decide to sell it will be impacted by the market, and the market is always changing. If you buy a home solely for investment purposes or for short-term housing needs, then you could be disappointed in your purchase if the market turns down.
Negotiate With the Seller
Buying a home is always a negotiating process. The better you are at negotiating, the better the deal you will be able to make for yourself. Too many Realtors tell their clients that the sale price is firm, but don’t let that stop you from seeing if there are any other ways you can save, such as through home repairs that are going to need to be made after you move in.
All too often, homebuyers settle with the seller too early in the negotiating process, only to wind up discovering later that they could have used certain factors in the home to their advantage.
Look Beyond the Home’s Staging and Minor Renovations
When you visit a home with your agent, the home will usually be staged so it looks its best, and the Realtor will also point out any recent renovations that the seller has made. While these help make a home more visually pleasant, don’t fall for the window-dressing.
Take a deeper look at the home for signs of problems. For instance, is the furnace relatively new? Is the water heater leaky? Is there corrosion visible on the plumbing pipes? Are there signs of leaks in the attic? Does the basement appear to have been flooded at some point?
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away
A lot of remorseful homebuyers end up that way because they didn’t walk away from the negotiating table when they knew in their gut that it was the best course of action. Because of all the work involved in buying a home, many don’t want to feel like they wasted their agent’s or the seller’s time, but remember – they’re not the ones who will have to live with your decision.
If you’re not getting the deal you want or something feels off, it’s perfectly okay to back out and start looking at other properties. You’re going to be in your new home for a while, so you want to make sure everything is as right and in your favor as possible before you buy.